St. Cecilia’s Mass by Charles Gounod will be performed at the First United Methodist Church of Newton on Palm Sunday, April 13th at 4pm. Directing an ecumenical choir of 35 will be Netcong resident, Henry Repp. A noted organist, Repp will also be playing the church’s Peragallo pipe organ Also in the program will be harpist André Tarantiles of New York, New York-based soprano Amy Shoremount-Obra from New Jersey, tenor John Meredith from Andover, and bass David Young from Newton. A free-will offering will be taken. The church, which is handicapped accessible, is located at 111 Ryerson Avenue in Newton.
A press release on the St. Cecilia’s Mass shares, “Gounod wrote the Mass to honor Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians and church music. While many Masses were composed by Gounod and other Romantic composers to be performed in a concert hall, the Saint Cecilia Mass was intended to be part of a religious service.
The work was first performed in its entirety for the church of Saint Eustache in Paris on Saint Cecilia’s Day, November 22, 1854. And because the work was written to honor the patron saint of music, Gounod knew he had to create something magnificent. He did not disappoint.”
The Palm Sunday program will also include Marche Solennelle by Gounod. This work, originally for two harps, was arranged for harp and piano by John Thomas. For this concert, an arrangement for harp and organ will be used, with Repp playing the organ and Tarantiles playing the harp.
Repp has been a church organist for forty-eight years and has numerous credentials. He began his organ studies with Alfred Mayer of Morristown and continued with Dorothe Lanning at First Memorial Presbyterian Church in Dover. He pursued advanced study with Robert MacDonald at the Riverside Church in New York City and the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark. He accompanied performances of Handel’s Messiah for many years with the Oratorio Choir at First Memorial Presbyterian Church in Dover and was accompanist for the Sussex County Oratorio Society for eleven years. He played for the Livingston Festival Choir Concerts and the Livingston Broadway Show Tunes Revues. In addition, he has performed numerous organ concerts on a variety of organs including those at St. Thomas Church in Manhattan and the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark. He was organist and sometimes organist/director for the Pike County Choral Society for ten years. He has been church organist for the First Presbyterian Church in Dover and Peapack Reformed Church in Gladstone. In September 2012, he became Director of Music at First United Methodist Church in Newton, where most recently, he directed and played Messiah.
With credentials including stage (The Fantasticks) and television performances, Tarantiles, has earned the reputation of being “an expert harpist”, as noted by the New York Times. Tarentiles has performed in concerts throughout the country and as soloist in all the major concert halls in New York City. He has appeared on national television accompanying opera stars such as Aprile Millo, Benita Valente, Renée Fleming, Heidi Grant-Murphy, and Jennifer Larmore; in orchestras, he’s backed up such headliners as Marilyn Horne, Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, and Shirley Jones. During his career, he has been principal harpist for a variety of venues including the New Jersey State Opera and the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Tarantiles is featured on CDs for several labels and he is also the official harpist of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. He is s currently a faculty member at The College of New Jersey, Montclair State University, Rutgers University and Bryn Mawr College.
Also bringing to the program New York opera experience is soprano soloist, Shoremount- Obra. She first garnered attention for her fiery portrayal as the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflote, which she performed with New York City Opera and covered at The Metropolitan Opera. She has since joined the Metropolitan Opera as part of the cast of Norma for the 2013-14 season, covering the role of Clotilde and will be making her Metropolitan Opera debut in the 2014-15 season as the First Lady in Mozart’s “Die Zauberflote”. Shoremount-Obra holds degrees from both Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School.
Recently heard in the Messiah concert at the Newton church, tenor Meredith will also sing in this concert. An Interlochen Arts Academy graduate (majoring in flute), Meredith also attended Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music where he majored in psychology and vocal performance. He has performed tenor roles in numerous light operas, has performed as tenor soloist in oratorios and choral works and has given several recitals with his wife, Kathleen. He is also active as a concert flutist and has recently given recitals in New Jersey and New York.
Bass solost Young is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Newton. His music background includes a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, and a Master of Music in vocal performance from The University of Maryland, College Park. In addition to recitals and concerts, Young has also had leading roles in musicals such as Jekyll and Hyde, The Secret Garden, South Pacific, and Man of LaMancha.
All are welcomed to attend the concert. Directions to the First United Methodist Church of Newton can be found on its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/newton.umc